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  • steelejay49

Do Not Be Afraid

Last year our daughter and I climbed The Pinnacle on Crowders Mountain just west of Charlotte. It is a beautiful mountain which took over an hour to leisurely climb. At the top is an amazing view looking east towards the city of Charlotte in the distance. On the way up we passed an interesting sign which said in large letters, “WARNING, serious injuries and deaths have occurred beyond this point.” That sign, as intended, has a powerful way of catching your attention. At that point of the climb, not knowing what to expect at the top, it is intended to have you become more cautious and put a bit of fear into you as you approach the summit. Once we reached the top, I knew exactly what they were saying since I do have a fear of heights.

In the Bible, the command to fear not is found over three hundred times. One of the most interesting is when Jesus tells Peter in the boat not to be afraid after the large catch of fish in the fifth chapter of Luke. While Jesus was near Lake Gennesaret the crowds were pressing in on Him. In His desire to teach them, He saw Peter’s empty boat, got into it, and pushed a little offshore and started teaching. When finished, He told Peter to go out into the deep watch to catch fish. Peter was reluctant but did it. Then he caught a large catch and was totally amazed. Falling at Jesus’ feet, he said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” To which Jesus replied, “Fear not, from now on you will be catching men.”

First, we should never tell Jesus to depart from us. It is He that we need most at times like this. Second, Peter is looking to his past and sees himself as a sinful man. That is a valid observation not only for Peter but for all of us. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is here that Jesus gives Peter the command to not be afraid. But Jesus does something else. He redirects Peter’s attention from his sinful past to the future where Jesus will make him a fisher of men. A key point of application in our lives at this point is that Satan wants us to focus on our sinful past and Jesus wants us to look to the future and what He can make us.

What Peter needed to do in this situation was to turn his focus around. He needed to stop looking at his past and all the failures he could see in it, and to refocus on the potential future that he has in Jesus. Obviously, he could not see at that point all that Jesus through the Holy Spirit had for him. But by faith he could walk into the future trusting that Jesus was in control. That is the heart of repentance, turning around the direction of our focus and putting our eyes on Jesus. That is what Jesus is calling each of us to in Mark 1:15 when He says, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Stop looking at the past and focus on Jesus alone.

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